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Has Employment Peaked?

A more robust look at jobs data may hold the answer.

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We've had a significant slowdown in economic growth in recent months. Continued deterioration in housing and related sectors has coupled with greater weakness in some important durable-goods industries. Amid worrying weakness in leading economic sectors, some government data were suggesting that employment had been holding up relatively well heading into late 2007. But the latest data are suggesting some chinks in the armor there as well. In Friday's national employment report, payrolls barely increased in December. Labor markets and consumer spending bear watching closely for signs of any intensifying recession.

Watching Labor Markets
Getting a good, timely read on the employment situation isn't like calling 411. Counting heads isn't as easy as it might seem. No single indicator out there is perfect. The available survey methods differ, and they can do funny things around economic "turning points" (expansion turning to recession, and vice versa).

Bill Bergman does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.